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  • noun Christianity A member of fanatical bands of predatory peasants that flourished in North Africa in the 4th century. They were associated with Donatists and sought death by martyrdom.


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  • I never knew one contend earnestly for a toleration of dissenters, but was so himself; nor any for their suppression, but were themselves of the persuasion which prevaileth: for if otherwise, this latter would argue a Circumcellion [130] fury, willfully to seek their own ruin; the former so much charity, and commiseration of the condition of mortality as in these days would procure of the most no other livery but a fool's coat.

    The Sermons of John Owen 1616-1683 1968

  • Theodoret says a Circumcellion was accustomed to announce his intention of becoming a martyr long before the time, in order to be well treated and fed like a beast for slaughter.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 5: Diocese-Fathers of Mercy 1840-1916 1913

  • Primianus of Carthage; of Rogatists, a Mauretanian sect, of mild character, because no Circumcellion belonged to it; the Rogatists were severely punished whenever the Donatists could induce the magistrates to do so, and were also persecuted by Optatus of Timgad.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 5: Diocese-Fathers of Mercy 1840-1916 1913

  • The lower and middle classes spoke Punic, and the Circumcellion heretics were to be among the last of its defenders.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize 1840-1916 1913


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